DPI Releases Summary of 2017-18 Education Bills

By John Forester | May 15, 2018

DPI just released this summary of selected education-related bills that were enacted in the 2017-18 legislative session for your information.

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Walker Directs Agencies to Plan for Zero Growth Budget

By John Forester | May 15, 2018

From The Wheeler Report . . .

Governor Walker has given agencies directions for planning their 2019-21 budget.  Walker directed state agencies to plan a zero growth budget.  One of the exceptions to this directive is K-12 school aids.

Governor’s Letter

Major Budget Policies

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Rep. Ed Brooks Will Not Seek Re-Election

By John Forester | May 15, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

GOP state Rep. Ed Brooks, of Reedsburg, announced today he will not seek re-election, citing his health.

Brooks’ office said in a statement recent tests “indicated he needs to maintain control over the leukemia that he battled into remission last year.”

“I’ve been humbled and honored to represent the good citizens from the best Assembly district in Wisconsin for 10 years,” Brooks said. “All I can say to describe my experience is that it has been awesome!”

Brooks, 75, was elected to the Assembly in 2008 and has been a regular Dem target, though he won re-election in 2016 with 57.8 percent of the vote. He announced almost a year ago that he had been diagnosed with leukemia saying in a statement he planned to “fight it every step of the way.”

Brooks is 14th member of the chamber to decide against seeking re-election this fall. Seven members have announced plans to retire without seeking another office; five are running for another office; one has already won a local office and resigned; and one joined the Walker administration.

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Loophole in Wisconsin Parental Choice Program?

By John Forester | May 14, 2018

In case you missed this, check out this interesting article from the Baraboo News Republic about a loophole in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.

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Blue Ribbon Commission to Meet May 21st

By John Forester | May 10, 2018

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding will hold a public hearing at 1:00pm on Monday, May 21st at the Turtle Lake School District Auditorium, 205 Oak Street, Turtle Lake, Wisconsin.

The Blue Ribbon Commission will hear testimony from invited speakers, including representatives in the following areas: Birchwood School District, Cameron School District, Turtle Lake School District,  and CESA 11.  Following the invited speakers, members of the public are invited to testify and share their thoughts on school funding with the commission. In order to ensure full participation from everyone in attendance, public testimony will be limited to 5 minutes per speaker. The hearing will conclude at 5:00 p.m.

As a reminder, here are the SAA’s discussion points for the Blue Ribbon Commission.  The SAA encourages members to use this information as well as examples from your district and your own expertise, in developing your communications to the Commission.  Stay tuned.  The SAA will keep members informed of Commission developments.

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School Law Update: Publication & Posting of Legal Notices

By John Forester | May 8, 2018

From the Legal Side…

Two new laws took effect April 18, 2018, regarding the publication of legal notices in newspapers. 2017 Wisconsin Act 282 modifies the qualifications for newspapers that receive payment for such publication. 2017 Wisconsin Act 353 provides an alternate publication option for Class 2 and Class 3 legal notices.  The Boardman & Clark law firm has recently issued a School Law Update on this topic.

The SAA regularly receives these updates and we believe this is valuable information for SAA members.  We are distributing this update to SAA members with the permission of Boardman & Clark.

 

 

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Blue Ribbon Commission To Meet May 7th

By John Forester | April 30, 2018

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding will hold a public hearing at 1:00pm on Monday, May 7th at Tomahawk Elementary School Auditorium.

The Blue Ribbon Commission will hear testimony from invited speakers, including representatives in the following areas: Florence County School District, Tomahawk School District, Northland Pines School District, Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, and Northwoods Broadband and Economic Development Coalition.  Following the invited speakers, members of the public are invited to testify and share their thoughts on school funding with the commission. In order to ensure full participation from everyone in attendance, public testimony will be limited to 5 minutes per speaker. The hearing will conclude at 5:00 p.m.

As a reminder, here are the SAA’s discussion points for the Blue Ribbon Commission.  The SAA encourages members to use this information as well as examples from your district and your own expertise, in developing your communications to the Commission.  Stay tuned.  The SAA will keep members informed of Commission developments.

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Schimel Wants Every School That Applies to Receive School Safety Grant

By John Forester | April 26, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

Attorney General Brad Schimel yesterday said he would like to see every school that applies for a grant under a new $100 million program receive some state assistance to improve safety measures.

Still, he acknowledged with some 3,100 public and private schools in Wisconsin, there will be limited resources. He noted if every school received an equal grant, it would work out to an average of $31,000.

“We know that we’re going to come short of money,” Schimel said at a news conference at St. Dennis Catholic School on Madison’s east side.

The awards will be split into two categories: primary grants for baseline improvements to schools such as door locks; and advanced grants for schools that have already met minimum security thresholds.

Schimel said the goal is for every Wisconsin school building to have a single, locked entry point that includes shatterproof glass. He expects about a third of the money to go toward those costs.

The advanced grants could be used for improvements such as video intercoms and exit door alarms. The money can’t be used to hire new staff or cover weapons, vehicles or body armor.

The applications are due June 8, and Schimel said the Department of Justice received one last night just hours after the agency began accepting them. He hoped to have the awards finalized by mid-June, expecting few schools would wait until the deadline to submit their applications.

To qualify for the money, all full-time teachers, aides, counselors and administrators will have to have at least three hours training in Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools before the end of the 2018-19 school year or show staff have already received such training.

While DOJ will notify schools of the awards this summer, schools will not see the payment until after the projects are completed. Schimel said those who fail to meet the training requirement will not be reimbursed for the safety measures.

Schools also will have to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure their plans will be effective.

“We owe our children and communities the promise of safe school environments.

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Schimel to Announce More Details on School Safety Initiative

By John Forester | April 25, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

AG Brad Schimel today will announce more details on the state’s $100 million school safety initiative during a news conference at a Catholic school on Madison’s east side.

The grants will start going out in June, and public and private schools are eligible for the awards.

Schimel yesterday announced the parameters of the $100 million grant system. That includes two different categories: Primary School Safety Grants, for baseline improvements to schools such as door locks; and Advanced School Safety Grants, for schools that have already met minimum security thresholds.

Of the $100 million available, around $35 million will be allocated for the primary category and the remaining $65 million would be for the advanced one.

See the news release here.

See news story from Wisconsin Public Radio here.

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Concurrent Enrollment Fix Signed by Governor

By John Forester | April 17, 2018

Assembly Bill 805, the so-called “Concurrent Enrollment Fix”, was signed into law yesterday by Governor Scott Walker as Act 307.  The SAA strongly supported this bill.

You might recall that the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) adopted in the 2017-19 State Budget increased school district fiscal exposure for participation in concurrent enrollment programs.  Act 307 simply exempts concurrent enrollment programs from the new ECCP requirements. See this Legislative Council Amendment Memo for a good summary of the bill’s provisions.

Special thanks to Rep. Dale Kooyenga for authoring this legislation.  Hats off as well to Elmbrook Superintendent Mark Hansen for his leadership in advocating for this important law change.

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